** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is presented by YANG YANG BADMINTON PRODUCTS and their U.K. agents, SUNRISE SPORTS (07050-182838/fax:07050-183838). **

April 29, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Defending champion China and 1995 finalist Indonesia have been given the favored positions in badminton's Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from May 19 to May 24.

China has been placed as the top-seed in Group A of the premier division together with South Korea and England. Indonesia is in Group B with Denmark and Sweden.

With the Korean women decimated by the retirement of stalwarts Bang Soo Hyun, the Olympic women's singles gold medalist, and Gil Young Ah, half of the 1995 women's doubles world champions and also an Olympic gold medalist in mixed doubles, and with the return to ascendancy of the Chinese men's singles players led by Dong Jiong and Sun Jun, the Chinese team is heavily favored to win their two Group A matches in the round-robin phase of the competition.

Indonesia could have a tough time against Denmark in Group B. Top men's singles player Joko Suprianto still has not fully recovered from a thigh injury that he suffered during the World Grand Prix Finals in December last year, and world men's singles champion Heryanto Arbi who had a long injury-caused layoff late last year still is not fit enough to play his attacking style in an extended match.

Denmark, on the other hand, has 1996 Olympic champion Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen, 1997 Taipei Open champion Peter Gade-Christensen, 1997 Japan Open champion Peter Rasmussen and 1997 Korean Open Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen to choose from in the men's singles.

The Indonesians are clearly worried about the men's singles match and have added veteran Ardy Wiranata to the Sudirman Cup team despite Wiranata's failure to qualify for the world individual championships (Only the top four players/pairs in each event from each country may play in the world individual championships unless the player/pair is ranked in the top 16. All players/pairs in the top 16 may play regardless of the four-player/pair quota - Editor).

The newly formed Danish men's doubles pair of Jon Holst-Christensen and Michael Sogaard have recently beaten Olympic gold medalists Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky as well as Olympic silver medal holders Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock. Holst, twice a world championships silver medalist, and Sogaard have the capability to beat any of Indonesia's three top pairs - Subagja and Mainaky, Wijaya and Budiarto, and Kantono and Antonius.

Denmark also boasts top mixed doubles combinations in Sogaard and Rikke Olsen and in Jens Eriksen and Marlene Thomsen. These pairs have beaten the top mixed doubles teams from Indonesia.

In women's doubles, Lisbet Stuer-Lauridsen and Marlene Thomsen as well as the pair of Rikke Olsen and Helene Kirkegaard are well-matched against Indonesia's top tandem of Eliza and Zelin as well as Isolina and Lomban.

Indonesia has a clear advantage only in the women's singles with Susi Susanti sporting a lopsided advantage in head-to-head matchups against Denmark's Camilla Martin.

On paper, either Indonesia or Denmark could come out on top of Group B and have the easier semifinal against the runner-up from Group A and the easier road to the Sudirman Cup championship match.

In the second division, Thailand and the Netherlands have been given the seeded positions. Thailand, relegated from the premier division, is in Group A with Japan, Taiwan and Germany. The Dutch are in Group B with Russia, Canada and the returning Malaysians (The Malaysians did not compete in the 1995 Sudirman Cup).

The second division teams are playing for promotion to the premier division in 1999. The group winners will play the runners-up from the other group in a divisional semifinal and the semifinal victors will clash in a promotion match. The bottom teams in each group will play a relegation match with the loser dropping down one division in the next Sudirman Cup competition.

In the third division are Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Austria, Norway, India and Finland.

The USA is in the fourth division with the Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland, Iceland, Ukraine, Wales and Bulgaria.

In the fifth division are Ireland, France, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Hungary, Belarus, Spain and Peru.

The sixth division teams include Portugal, Pakistan, Mauritius, Israel, Slovenia, Cyprus, Italy and Slovakia.

The other countries entered are in Divisions 7 and 8.

Competition in divisions 3 to 8 follow the format for division 2. The teams in each division are split into two groups with the group winners playing the runners-up from the other group in a divisional semifinal. The semifinal victors clash in a promotion match. The bottom teams play each other in a relegation match.